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July 6, 2006


By Thomas L. Walsh


President Bush called the New York Times "disgraceful" and "shameful" for disclosing yet one more secret program. When the Times recently exposed Bush's secret penchant for secretly spying on American citizens, it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for journalistic excellence. Oh, those Pulitzer liberals...What else would one expect?

The 30% of Bush's hard core conservatives who still support him are apoplectic over the NYT exposing his secret bank monitoring program, along with all those gays who are going to ruin our traditional marriages, and those thousands (well, four maybe, over the last ten years) of flag burners. The Times is a constant irritant to the unthinking right, and with plummeting election year approval levels for both this president and his Congress, the howls of protest are over the top.

New York Congressman Peter King called the Times "treasonist," and suggested that Attorney General Gonzales consider prosecuting the Times, its reporters, editors, and maybe the janitors. Fox News wing nut Tammy Bruce compared the NYT to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, although she is too young to remember them.

The crème de la crème, however, came from Dick Cheney, the Prince of Darkness: "Some in the press...particularly The New York Times, have made the job of defending against further terrorist attacks more difficult." This from the man whose office intentionally exposed anti-terrorism agent Valerie Plame, and thereby her network, for simple revenge against her husband, who exposed administration lies about yellow cake uranium.

More reasoned minds, including several anonymous Treasury department officials, said the international banking system spying program had either "awesome," or "troubling" capability...depending upon where you sat. "While tight controls are in place...the potential for abuse is enormous." They expressed reservations about the Swift program, saying that an "urgent, temporary measure had become permanent nearly five years later, without congressional approval or formal authorization."

Bush and his minions respect the First Amendment only when it serves their cause. One need only recall their repeated leaks to Judith Miller, formerly a NYT writer, and Lewis Libby's acknowledgement that the vice-president authorized him to leak the Plame information.

Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey opined that the Bush administration once more employed a "shoot the messenger" strategy in an attempt to avoid congressional oversight.

Tom Brokaw's comments may have been the most telling: "I don't know anyone who believes that the terrorist network said, 'Oh my God, they're tracing our financial transactions. What a surprise.' Of course they knew they were doing that."

How can this president call the nations, and probably the world's foremost newspaper shameful and disgraceful for printing the truth about yet another of his secret spying programs?

Mr. Bush, I don't think you want to talk about "shameful." Not when you repeatedly lied about WMD's to launch an unnecessary war.

Not when you minced around on the deck of an aircraft carrier, prematurely proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," before another 2,300 American kids died, and countless thousands more were gravely wounded, due to your inattentiveness and failure to recognize the insanity driving your inner circle of neo-con extremists.

Not, sir, when you intentionally allowed and encouraged your administration to disdain publicly our long-time European allies as being "Old Europe," an inflammatory and frankly stupid statement, which has caused irreparable harm to our reputation with some of our oldest allies.

Not when you have repeatedly ignored real science on global warming, to protect your oil industry contributors.

Not when you have allowed Christian fundamentalists to take over the Air Force Academy, one of our nations's three military academies. No president in history would have allowed that.

Not when you supported writing precise discrimination into the Constitution of the United States, to rally your far right constituents.

Not for politicizing the Homeland Security Department, allowing your friends and contributors to steal literally billions of dollars from the American taxpayers through schemes and bribery. Your friends, sir, have been greatly enriched, over the blood of our young soldiers.

A president who favors tax cuts for the nation's very richest over supplying proper and sufficient equipment for the troops he so cavalierly committed to an unnecessary war is "shameful."

No Mr. President, "shameful" and "disgraceful" were poor word choices in your attempt to quash freedom of the press

Authors Bio:
Thomas L. Walsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Communications/Journalism degree in 1962. Following a successful business career, he retired to Idaho's Teton Valley in 1999, where he works as a free-lance writer. Walsh and his wife Wynne Ann both teach Alpine skiing at Wyoming's Grand Targhee Ski Resort in the winter. Tom recently published his first book.

"Damnyankee, a WWII Story of Tragedy and Survival off the West of Ireland," is the compelling story of a World War II U.S. Navy submarine patrol bomber which ditched off the west coast of Ireland in 1944 in a seething North Atlantic storm.

Four decades later an American arrived in Clifton, County Galway, claiming to have been a crew member on that aircraft lost at sea, and striving to reconfirm that this tragedy had occurred. With the help of a sergeant in the Garda, an Irish schoolboy, and an aging Irish maiden lady, the former bow gunner was able to reconstruct the incident. In the process, he found a way to honor those who lost their lives in the storm-lashed sea that tragic night.

The author's familiarity with Ireland and all things Irish adds additional perspective to the book. From a beginning in Norfolk, Virginia to a partial salvation at the tiny village of Ailleabreach along the Galway coast, this book has something for both WWII aviation buffs as well as those hopelessly in love with the West of Ireland.

Damnyankee is available through both and Barnes
& Noble.